Why I Started a Blog and How You Can Too
Me a blogger? It was hard to imagine. The word blogger made me think of nailpolish, hair extension and cute clothes. Yes, I am a bit prejudiced here. In Norway we have a term ‘pink blogger’ that is exactly that. And that is what most people think of when they here about “bloggers” here. So for me starting a blog, was not obvious.
Did you come here to learn HOW TO BLOG, skip ahead.
Why I Blog
So why did I start a blog? I have several reasons for starting a blog. As you can read in my “origin story” I first started creating a Twitter account before starting a blog. The reason was that I was a long-time (for my age) investor that wanted to exchange my ideas and progress. Soon after starting Tweeting I discovered a lot of other people in the financial independence community. And a lot of them had blogs. I was inspired by them/you. The blog is a great way to share thoughts and connecting with the FI commnuity. Also, due to to the monthly financial statuses, it is a great way to keep track of my performance over time .
Another aspect of the blog is the writing. I have always wanted to write. Reading is one of my passions and one day I might write a book myself. Blogging gives me practice and I already notice that I have become a better writer.
For a writer in the financial independece segment I obviously also have to come clean and admit that the blog also is a attempt to build a side hustle in the long run. I am inspired by every one that have managed to do this by bringing value to their audience. That is my ultimate goal. If you have any comments, advice or feedback on how I can bring more value, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
So, my reasons for starting the blog is in short:
- Sharing my thoughts
- Connecting with the FI community
- Tracking my progress
- Practicing writing
- Building a side hustle
Starting a Blog — How To
Note: I have used several affiliate links in this section. This means that if you click these links and decide to sign-up for the services I might receive a commission. This will not affect you in any way. In fact you may benefit from it. If you choose to use my links for sign-up I will be grateful. Thanks in advance.
Pick Your Host
The first thing you want to do when starting your blog is to pick your host. The host is where you chose to “store” your blog.
You can get free hosting, but then your blog will be named yourname.hostname.org instead of yourname.com for instance. Hosting is not very expensive, and if you are serious about bloging and want any audience, I recommend you pay for a host.
I chose BlueHost. They are one of the cheaper options and have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you find out that it isn’t for you. Included in the price is free SSL certificate, 1-Click WordPress install (more on that later), 24/7 support (which can be super useful when starting up) and free domain name for the first year.
Signing up for is easy.
- Go to Bluehost and click the “Get Started Now” button.
- Choose a package (see screenshot below).
- Enter your domain name or find a new one if you haven’t got one already. (You can also choose to do this later.
- Enter your personal information.
Find a Good Domain
Picking your domain is important when creating a blog. You want a domain name that is easy to remember, are somehow relevant to the theme of you website and can also act as brand that you can use for your social media marketing.
If you have a name that you want to use, you can see if that particular name is available by visiting BlueHost and clicking on the domain tab. Here you can search to see if your domain is available.
If you are not sure what to call your blog you can try a domain generator. I used this one to build my list of ideas: https://www.namemesh.com/
Choose a Platform
The platform is where you build your website. Wordpress is the most popular one and is quite easy to start using. If you sign up with BlueHost you have the one-click install that makes it even easier. This is a simple integration so you don’t have to do all the backend setup yourself.
Note: Wordpress.com and wordpress.org are two slightly different things. Wordpress.com is a hosted site with limitations if you don’t pay for a plan. Wordpress.org is more customizable and have no restrictions. The difference is you have to host wordpress.org “yourself”. BlueHost is integrated with wordpress.org so you have the ultimate flexibility by doing it that way.
If Wordpress seems complicated and you want a more module based approach in building your website you can check out Wix.
Choose a Theme
Wordpress have a lot of themes you can choose from. Some are free and some cost money. I think there a lot of great free themes. So if you do not want to spend too much you can easily find a nice free theme. You can always change your theme under Appearance -> Themes.
Plugins are where the magic happens. You have a ton of plugins to choose from that will make your blog better. Just about every problem you encounter or feature you want to implement, someone have thought of and created a plugin for. Do your research to find what is best for you, but it is no problem to try a plugin to see if you like it and then just deactivate it again.
How to Build Traffic to Your Site
Since your goal with the blog probably is to connect with other people, you need people to find your site. Here is what I do to build traffic to my site.
I did my research before starting 10YearTarget.com. One of the advises I saw repeatedly was to start a mailing list as quickly as possible. I did this and I see that it keeps growing. By having a mailing list you can easily send out newsletters that will bring attention and traffic to your site. Sign-up for Convertkit or Mailchimp to easily manage your mailing list and newsletters.
As mentioned earlier I started with Twitter. After building an audience on Twitter by sharing thoughts and connecting with other people, you will get traffic by posting links to your site. Post regularly and at different times so that some of your followers don’t always miss your tweets because they are in a different time zone. Tweet your links several times over time, but change the description. The description can be text from the blog post that is interesting just by reading it on Twitter, but will invoke enough curiosity that the reader will click your link.
Follow me on Twitter for some inspiration.
Every “how to gain traffic to your site” post you stumble upon will recommend using Pinterest to increase traffic. I have yet to experience incredible amount of traffic coming from Pinterest yet. But one of my Pins actually got some clicks. So done correctly and over time I can see the potential. One of the things you should do when you use Pinterest is to share your pins in Community Boards. This is collaborative boards that already have a lot of followers and the participants benefit from each other. I have actually created one myself. You are welcome to join — click HERE.
Comment on Other Blogs
One of the most surprising increases in traffic for me came after I commented on a popular blog. The blog I commented on had a financial status update and I gave some feedback on the post and provided link to my own post on the same topic. That day and several days after I saw incredible traffic coming from that source. I have since done this on a regular basis on other blogs. But remember to be relevant and not spamming your links all over the place.
SEO — Search Engine Optimization.
The last traffic source that you cannot overlook when your blog starts to grow is traffic from search engines. If you write a blog about a “financial target” you want your blog to be found when someone search for “financial target”. In order for Google (and other search engines) to rank you higher in their hits you want to pay attention to SEO. These are tweaks you can do to your site to become more visible. It may not be as hard as you think. There are a lot of tools that help you optimize. I mostly use Yoast that is implemented as a plugin in Wordpress. When you write a blog post Yoast gives you feedback on your writing and let’s you provide metadata that will optimize your SEO.
Ready? Now you know how you are starting a blog. Please leave your URL in the comment section when you are up and running and I will check it out!